While a 9-5 can bring security, it’s not a lifestyle for everyone — and certainly not one for me. Learn why I chose to avoid the 9 to 5 after college.
Knowing that I wanted to avoid the 9-5 grind, graduating college brought new challenges and job-seeking strategies I wasn’t taught to maneuver.
College might prepare you to be pretty damn good at something, but career paths such as freelancing, part-time work, or contracting-jobs are options not represented as ¨ideal¨post-college career paths.
Now that I think about, colleges need to boast their students get employed, so I can see why such paths are not really encouraged.
BUT ANYWAYS, My goal was to freelance after college. Inspired by my current situation and by the impact of my choices, I want to share why I didn’t look for a 9-5 (or full-time job) as I was coming upon graduation this past May.
Okay, maybe at times I’d consider it. But then I would visualize myself going through the motions, waking up early, being in the same place every day, and working for the same boss — just the thoughts stressed me out. I also don’t necessarily agree with the standard work model (but that’s a story for another day).
I saw myself as that employee crying in the bathroom and unfortunately, that image wasn’t as cute as it was in Aggretsuko (See Netflix).
While some careers demand full-time work, if you’re like me and have a flexible (or vague) degree and a self-starting personality, don’t be afraid to paint your career
Here are some of the reasons why I’m totally okay with the path I’ve chosen and the benefits I’ve been able to take advantage of since I choose to avoid the 9-5.
I don’t want wake up at seven a.m. or so to spend the same eight or more hours in the same place five days a week. No way. Unless I absolutely loved it and felt extremely passionate about the work, I don’t think I could do it without impacting my own sanity and health.
Taking my work into my own hands gives me more control over my schedule.
By freelancing and seeking contracted and flexible part-time work, I have more options to choose where my time goes.
This advantage of this is that I’ve been able to better commit myself to my passion projects — I feel if I were working full-time right now my passion projects would feel like a burden.
Overall, the best thing is having extra time to sleep and take my mornings more slowly. Oops, is my entitled millennial showing?
Welp, the times are changing (literally), and maybe I’m (and maybe you’re) part of the generation to change the pace, without changing the productivity.
Freedom to explore
Not knowing where my all my income will come from month-to-month sounds scary, but I think that’s what I like about it. Despite my degree, I’m not afraid to seek out or try work that I’m not familiar with or have limited experience in. All that matters is that I can pull it off.
(By the way, I studied communication studies, so technically, I CAN work in any field.)
With my decision to avoid the 9-5, learning to hustle gives me the opportunity to learn how to take care of myself and learn develop new skills.
One of my contracted employers noticed my openness to trying different positions and I’m now working three jobs within the same institution. Furthermore, I’ve just been hired for my first part-time teaching job and had an interview to work in promotions today. To some that might seem overwhelming, but to me, that’s making it work.
Most importantly, I have time to get explore my writing and creation styles. While I may not be getting paid as much as I want as a content creator, I’m able to explore my passion which someday will translate into figures.
College isn’t the only time to explore as I was told. Now that I’m out, I feel freer to develop my skills and career than before.
As I’ve come to live the lifestyle I’ve chosen, I’m learning that my goals are going to take strategy.
For example, I’m financial well-off until December and only have a vague idea of how or what I will be doing to make ends meet after. Maybe it’ll be writing, maybe my part-time, or maybe a random side job that a business needs doing.
Who knows? I don’t. The point is that I I trust I can rely on myself to find or create work.
While it would feel good to know I had steady (and good) money coming from somewhere every month, it’s so satisfying knowing that I will make it work without having to depend on a single employer to provide for me.
It makes sense
The reason I didn’t desire a full-time job was that I knew my personality didn’t fit. I look back at my work habits since my teenage years and in fact, I’ve typically held down 2 or more jobs at a time. It’s who I am.
With flexible future goals, living this way will help me grow in self-reliance and experience while maintaining my personal work style. Being the last of the millennials, I’m bringing career prospects in millennial fashion — into the digital world. (And so is Gen Z, but they’re probably gonna be a whole other beast).
With people today are making their income solely through remote-work and are their own bosses, it begs the question; is committing to a commute and set daily hours really a good idea?
To all of you recent college grads or those of you coming upon that time, don’t forget that the ”ideal career” is no longer working a 9-5. The pinnacle and definition of success is what you want it to be.
Some 9-5 jobs are necessary and some degrees don’t put you in a position to freelance if you’re taught a very specific industry — and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, businesses with these hours offer stability not just to people who seek it, but to the ebb and flow of society.
Yet, we are living in a time where anyone can make a career out of anything, really.
We live in an era with few limitations to our minds and movements, so don’t be afraid to get with (and also challenge) the times.
Graduation photos by multi-media artist Chrissy Kim.